Cadet Honor Code & Honor System

"A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

Cadet Honor Code & Honor System

"A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do."

At the heart of the United States Military Academy's mission is the cultivation of leaders who possess exceptional character. The Cadet Honor Code provides the foundation for shaping a cadet's character; it's not just a set of rules but the starting point and minimal standard for those aspiring to live above the common level of life. The Honor Code is not a restriction; it's an invitation to build a foundation of integrity that can withstand any challenge. The Code's unwavering demands serve as a guide, a source of motivation, and a transformative force during the formative years at West Point. Beyond the Academy, the effects of the Honor Code resonate throughout a graduate's military service and beyond, unifying the "Long Gray Line" in a shared commitment to personal integrity and unwavering professional responsibility.

Spirit of the Honor Code

Cadets should embrace truthfulness in all aspects of their life. 

Cadets should attempt to be fair and equitable in their interactions with others

Cadets should treat others like they wish to be treated

Cadets should recognize their professional responsibility to uphold and enforce the ethical standards of the Academy and the Army.

Cadet Honor Code and Honor System Fact Sheet

The West Point Honor System is a fundamental aspect of the United States Military Academy at West Point. The values instilled through the Honor System guide cadets throughout their military careers and beyond, promoting a lifelong commitment to integrity and ethical conduct. The entire West Point community, including faculty, staff, and cadets, plays a role in reinforcing and upholding the Honor System. The Honor System relies on a peer-enforcement model, where cadets are responsible for upholding the Code among themselves. The Honor case process is divided into five stages: Reporting, Investigation, Hearing, Recommendation/ Adjudication, and Rehabilitation.

1. Reporting Violations:

Cadets, Staff, and Faculty have a duty to report any suspected violations of the Honor Code. Reports encourage a culture of accountability and transparency. Cadets are expected to confront their peers if they witness any violation of the Honor Code.

2. Investigation:

When a violation is reported, a thorough investigation is conducted by the Cadet Honor Committee. The committee examines the evidence and interviews involved parties to determine the facts surrounding the alleged violation.

3. Honor Hearings:

If sufficient evidence exists, a cadet accused of an Honor Code violation is brought before an Honor Investigative Hearing, where a cadet hasn't admitted to breaking the Honor Code. The board is there to understand the whole story, hear all facts of the case, and determine if a Cadet violated the Honor Code or a Cadet Advisory Board where a Cadet admits to a violation of the Honor Code. The Honor Board consists of cadet peers who carefully review the case, allowing the accused to present their defense.

4. Recommendation/ Adjudication

If a cadet is FOUND to violate the Cadet Honor Code, appropriate sanctions are imposed. Sanctions can range from academic penalties to separation from the academy.

5. Rehabilitation:

The Honor System is reinforced through ongoing education and training.

Cadets who violate the Honor Code are enrolled in the Special Leader Development Program for Honor (SLDP-H) and will participate in discussions, workshops, and sessions with an assigned Developmental Coach to continually reinforce the values and expectations of the Honor Code and honorable living.

The Academy Mentorship Program (AMP) is a unique opportunity the Secretary of the Army offers cadets who violate the cadet honor code and who demonstrate the potential for growth and professional-ethical commitment. This program is designed to provide a remedial developmental path.  A cadet in the AMP leaves the academy and serves as an active-duty enlisted soldier in either the Infantry, Armor, Field Artillery, Engineer, Military Police, or Logistics branches of service.

Throughout this developmental journey, the former cadet is assigned a dedicated staff or faculty member from USMA to serve as their coach. Together, the cadet and their coach collaboratively create a personalized developmental program that acts as a roadmap for the ex-cadet's growth while serving as an enlisted soldier. This supportive structure aims to guide and encourage positive actions and choices.

Completing the Academy Mentorship Program is a significant achievement. Upon completion, the former cadet becomes eligible to re-apply to USMA. This program is rooted in the belief in the potential for positive change and growth. It aligns with the values and commitment to excellence the United States Military Academy upholds.

SLDP-H is an incredible opportunity for personal growth and redemption, after a violation of the honor code. A dedicated Developmental Coach (DC) from the Academy's accomplished staff and faculty, willingly invests more than 50 hours to personally guide any cadet enrolled in the program through a transformative journey of self-discovery, helping shape behavior, thoughts, values, and beliefs into a foundation of strength and character.

Cadets must compile a packet during their experience. The packet undergoes a thorough review by the Cadet Honor Committee and the chain of command before going to the the Superintendent for final approval. 

Cadets are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and honesty as outlined in the honor code. If a cadet admits to violating the code, they face consequences such as academic penalties, disciplinary actions, or dismissal from the academy in more severe cases. The specific outcomes depend on the nature and severity of the violation and any mitigating factors. The process is designed to be fair and focused on individual development, and is designed to help cadets learn from their experiences.